As knowledge about the biological foundation of the modern patriarchal gender order is increasingly challenged within late-modern social worlds enclaves persist in which men and women can attempt to recreate understandings of the “natural” basis of sex difference. Within “Power Gym,” male boxers were able to symbolize their bodies and behaviors in such a manner. The language and logic of popular scientific discourses authored and authorized notions of an “innate” manhood. The ability to instrumentally deploy one’s manliness in symbolically legitimate ways could then be represented and emotionally experienced as a man’s biological right and obligation. Through scripted performances of “mimetic” violence and self-bullying, the boxers were able to experience this discursive naturalness and carve out a masculinity-validating social enclave. As such, they accessed a “patriarchal dividend” by securing a local pastiche hegemony in which discourses surrounding men’s natural place as physically and psychologically dominant remained largely uncontested. Through the reflexive appropriation of “science,” within appropriate subcultural codes, these men could negotiate taboos and restrictions that are characteristic of late-modern social worlds. When considered in this way, the power of “scientific” truth claims to explain and justify a certain level of violence, aggression, and behaviors coded as masculine, comes to the fore.
- pastiche hegemony